Ford asks hospitals to comment on possible hospital vaccine mandate for healthcare workers

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Ontario Premier Doug Ford calls on hospital CEOs, local medical officers of health and other health care organizations to provide feedback on implementing vaccination mandates for hospital staff .

Many hospitals in the province have already adopted their own mandates, going beyond the current provincial policy of having hospital staff vaccinated or undergoing frequent testing.

Ford’s letter to health leaders says some have suggested a province-wide mandate is needed, but he wants to explore the ramifications of any staff shortages.

“Any decision will need to balance the risks posed by COVID-19 to hospitals with the risk of further exacerbating health human resource issues and the risks these may pose to the continued delivery of high quality care by the sector.” , he wrote.

“We are already seeing other Canadian jurisdictions that have implemented mandatory vaccination policies, including British Columbia and Quebec, easing or delaying their implementation dates. “

Ford told a press conference on Friday that, according to recent estimates, 15% of the health system’s workforce was unvaccinated.

But the many hospitals that have already laid off unvaccinated staff or put them on unpaid leave as part of their own tenure are seeing numbers far below that.

The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario said on Friday that 98.7 percent of its staff had complied with its policy, and 47 people, including 29 part-time and casual employees, have been put on trial. leave.

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a drive-through clinic at Richardson Stadium in Kingston, Ont. On Friday, May 28, 2021. (Lars Hagberg / The Canadian Press)

The Queensway Carleton Hospital in Ottawa said on Friday that 98 percent of its staff have chosen to be vaccinated, and it will put 37 unvaccinated employees on leave, most of them part-time or casual. This number includes 11 nurses, two of whom are full-time.

Cornwall Community Hospital said on Friday it planned to lay off 33 staff, or 2.8% of its active workforce.

Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare in Windsor, Ont., Laid off 24 employees – or two percent of its staff – this week for non-compliance with its policy. Cambridge Memorial Hospital has put 51 employees on leave, or about 3% of its staff.

Hospitals said the numbers are such that they do not affect operations or patient care.

In his letter, Ford asked health officials for their views on the potential impacts of an immunization mandate, what more the government could do to increase immunization among healthcare workers, and whether unvaccinated staff could be reassigned to non-border workers. line roles.

He also asked hospital CEOs specifically what impact a mandatory policy would have on diagnostic procedures or elective surgeries.

“What’s that going to do for the system months later?” Ford said Friday at his press conference.

“What’s it going to do when people go there for cancer surgery, (or) a diagnosis?” What will this do to our health system as a whole? So those are the answers I ask CEOs to send back to us. “


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